Holistic Help for Addictions

Spirituality Article: 

Help For Addictions

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The term addiction
is widely used today to mean a dependency.  The dependence can be physical or psychological, but implies a compulsive or habitual need to repeat the experience.  Many drugs are addictive, but food can also be addictive.  Even tasks can be addictive, including exercise, work and dieting.  Addictions are the excess use and dependency of/on anything including food, sex, alcohol, smoking, caffeine, sugar, shopping, chocolate, drugs, etc.

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Why do we become addicted?

Many addictions have their roots in painful childhood experiences.  According to a study undertaken by the National Academy of Sciences, children are more likely to end up with addictions to something if they are physically abused, humiliated, lied to, and if their parents are themselves substance abusers.  For example, alcoholism is four to five times more prevalent among the biological children of alcoholics than among those with nonalcoholic parents.

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How do you know if you are addicted?

1. Do you feel that you just don't want to stop indulging in a particular substance - caffeine, sugar, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex - right now, although you could at any time?

2. Have you ever tried to stop for a week but been unable to do so?

3. Do you resent the advice of others who express concern about your substance use?

4. Have you ever tried to control your addiction by switching to an alternative addictive substance? For instance, have you ever taken up smoking so that you could give up drinking?

5. Do you envy people who can indulge without getting into trouble?

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6. Has your substance use created problems with friends and family?

7. Do you try to avoid family or friends when you're using your substance?

8. Have you lost relationships because of substance abuse?

9. Are your friendships determined by whether others indulge in the same substances as you?

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11. Have you ever neglected your family or work for more than two days in a row due to substance abuse?

12. When substances are limited or unavailable at social events, do you try to obtain some anyway?

13. Have you missed time from work during the past year due to substance use?

14. Has your substance of choice stopped being fun to use?

15. When you are low on your substance, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more?

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16. Do you plan your life around your substance use?

17. Do you ever consume more of your particular substance than you intend to?

18. Are you consuming more than you used to in order to feel the same effects?

19. Do you consume as much as you can and feel reluctant to discard any leftovers?

20. Are you experiencing financial difficulty due to substance use?

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21. Do you use your substance when you are disappointed, depressed, or going through a difficult time?

22. Does your substance use affect your sleep?

23. Has your sexual ability or desire suffered from your substance use?

24. Are you concerned that if you stop using, you will lack energy, motivation, confidence, or the ability to relax?

25. Do you use your substance repeatedly to sleep or stay awake?

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26. Do you ever lie to others about how much or how often you consume your particular substance?

27. Have you ever stolen money or goods to support your habit?

28. Have you lost a job because of substance use?

29. Do you ever regret the way you behaved while you were on a substance-use high?

30. Do you experience irritability, headaches, or tremors when you have not consumed your particular substance for a while?

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31. Have you ever passed out from substance use?

32. Have you ever felt your life would be more productive if you were not indulging in that particular substance?

33. Have you become more irritable and difficult to get along with?

34. Is your pattern of use potentially dangerous? (This can be true even in cases where substance consumption is neither frequent nor excessive.)

35. Do you lack self-control in deciding whether or not to consume your particular substance?

36. Is your habit putting you into a state of poor health?

37. Is your substance abuse dangerous to others? (Via secondhand smoke, drunk driving, using up family resources, et cetera?)

How many questions did you answer yes to? Deep down inside, if you are being honest with yourself, you know if you have an addiction problem or are on your way to one. Do something about it now . . . while you can.

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Holistic Help for Addictions: Crystal Remedy

Offering a balanced energy field, energy modification, amplifies both energy and thought, clarity in thinking, and harmony and alignment with the chakra energy areas.

The Complete Chakra Kit stimulates the seven main energy sources which govern all the major organs and psychologically alters and clears the body's energy in order to allow healing to take place.

Addiction Control - Allowing emotions to be expressed is the goal with crystal therapy. Crystals to consider are Amethyst, Bloodstone, Fluorite, Labradorite, Quartz, and Ruby.
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Holistic Help for Addictions: Aromatherapy Remedies

Aromatherapy can help by controlling your addictions. People who do try to stop an addictive behavior such as smoking or binge eating, often find themselves over indulging in cigarettes or overeating. One reason is habit. They are used to doing something with their hands and mouth, so they eat. Or they could be battling the misery of nicotine withdrawal with the nurturing pleasure of food. Regardless of the excuse, this lack of control often leads to many health problems. Helpful, are essential oils such as Bergamot, Fennel and Patchouli because, together, they can help suppress addictive behavior.

An addiction is a physical or psychological craving or need for a habit-forming substance or chemical compound. Most drugs and even some tasks can be addictive, such as exercising, working, eating or dieting.

Addictions can also be linked to nutritional deficiencies. The physical dependence causes symptoms of withdrawal and the psychological dependence causes intense cravings. To improve your chance to succeed in kicking a bad habit, use essential oil such as:

Clary Sage - Clary sage essential oil has a strong, nutty aroma. The essential oil Clary sage it used for its antidepressant, antiseptic, deodorant, digestive and sedative properties. Clary sage with its regenerative properties is commonly used for the skin in today’s aromatherapy. It is used for premature balding to stimulate hair growth. It is used to control greasy hair and dandruff. It is also used in dream therapy; it helps you to remember the dreams by being able to dream more clearly and helps with the memory of dreams. It is also recommended for stress therapy, it helps reduce the feeling of stress. Clary sage is also used for the reproductive system, some herbalists prescribe Clary sage mixtures for couples experiencing difficulty-conceiving children. It is also used for both premenstrual syndrome and menstrual pain. Clary sage can be used as a natural muscle relaxer, relieving muscle spasms, backaches, and stiffness of the joints and muscle cramps.

Grapefruit - has a light, fresh and fruity scent and is often helpful in breaking the bonds of dependency.This oil is refreshing tonic, enhances concentration and zest for life, brings positive thoughts. A native to tropical Asia and the West Indies, this oil has a long tradition as a fragrance component, and a popular additive in desserts, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. Commonly used by aromatherapists to help with cellulite, obesity, muscle fatigue, water retention, nervous exhaustion, depression, flu, chills and common colds.

Lavender - Lavender is often called the universal oil, because you can use it for so many things. It is analgesic, anti-coagulant, anti-convulsive, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-toxic, cardiotonic, and is a sedative. It has a very balancing effect on the body, emotions, mind and spirit. It may help acne, allergies, arthritis, asthma, boils, bronchitis, and is excellent for burns of any type. It has been used for cramps, dandruff, depression, diaper rashes, earaches, eczema, fainting, flatulence, hair loss, headaches, high blood pressure, indigestion, insect bites and repellant, infection, flu, insomnia, laryngitis, helps to detoxify the lymphatic system, migraines, nausea, nervous tension. PMS, psoriasis, rashes, helps to prevent scarring, sprains, stress, stretch marks, sunstroke, throat infections, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, thrush, water retention, and wounds.

3 times a day, morning, noon and night, utilize these blends of essential oils:

Angel's Mist Addiction Massage Essential Oil Remedy Blend

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Holistic Help for Addictions: Guided Imagery

The power of visualization and guided imagery is one of our most powerful gifts! A healing tool we all have with in us - the "power of the mind!" Learning how to do Guided Imagery has many benefits. Guided Imagery helps us to develop our imagination as a healing tool. The premise is to use "Mind Medicine" to connect the mind and body in order to free ourselves from pain due to ANY Medical Condition. This concept allows us to deepen our abilities to fully relax, quiet the mental chatter, create restful sleep and invite a positive and productive thought process. Learn more about how guided imagery can work for you!

Anxiety, depression and addictive disorders are responsive to healing work and to a wide variety of psychotherapies. During the past several decades, there has been an increasing enthusiasm for focused, time-limited therapies that address ways of coping with anxiety symptoms directly.

The power of your mind and your belief system has everything to do with the condition, the speed and the way that you heal.

Our Belief System is one of the major factors that can get us through situations or can cause our life to crumble around us! I do believe that there is a lot of innate goodness and balancing our minds do subconsciously to get us through hard times. The other portion of this is how we "program" ourselves to deal with any given situation.

Our self-confidence and self-love are often the key to opening and strengthening this portion of our thoughts which in turn emanates from ourselves!

Energy follows thought. Program thought to be positive and your energy will reflect it!

Really appreciating what we DO have as opposed to what we would like to have, sometimes makes a signifcant difference. This is always an important element in healing that is often neglected.
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Holistic Help for Addictions: Herbal Remedies

Malnutrition is often coupled with addiction problems and compounds the symptoms of cravings and withdrawal. Herbs can rectify these imbalances.

Astragalus Strengthens the natural defenses of the body. Can involve the immune system, cardiovascular system and glands from all other systems. Provides energy to fight fatigue, increases metabolism. Good for colds, flus and immune deficiency symptoms. The belief that astragalus can strengthen immunity has a partial basis in Chinese tradition. It was the Chinese who first developed astragalus. Astragalus should be for use while you're healthy, for the purpose of preventing future illnesses. The root of the herb is used. Extracts of astragalus have been found to stimulate parts of the immune system in humans.

Bee Pollen - has been used to build up the immune system to fight colds and to counteract depression. Bee pollen has also been used internally to increase anti-allergenic properties to enhance the immune system against allergies to pollen. Bee Pollen is used in the fight against addictions because it helps support and strengthens the immune system.

Burdock Root - Burdock root contains high amounts of inulin and mucilage. This may explain its soothing effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Bitter constituents in the root may also explain the traditional use of burdock to improve digestion. It also contains polyacetylenes that have been shown to have antimicrobial activity.

Dandelion - Dandelion is a natural diuretic that increases urine production by promoting the excretion of salts and water from the kidney. Dandelion may be used for a wide range of conditions requiring mild diuretic treatment such as addictions, poor digestion, liver disorders, and high blood pressure.

Garlic - One of the oldest recorded culinary spices, garlic (Allium sativum) is mentioned as a food in the Bible, and is known to have been part of the diet of Egyptian workers as long ago as 2600 BC. It is the dominant flavor in much of Mediterranean cuisine, but is also a more subtle addition to many Asian dishes. But alongside its popularity in food, garlic has a long history of medicinal use – a traditional history that has gained increasing recognition from science. Garlic preparations have long been used to relieve the congestion of colds and hay fever.

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Holistic Help for Addictions: Meditation Therapy

Meditation is a time-honored technique that can take you into infinite dimensions of consciousness. One major principle to meditation is in the ability to completely quiet your mind. Quieting the mind comes as a result of meditating over a long period of time, but any time you are looking within, you are meditating.

There are many meditation methods. Some are passive and others are active -- not in the physical sense, but in the sense that you actually do something during meditation. Meditators learn to focus their awareness and direct it onto an object: the breath, a phrase or word: a mantra, repeated silently, a memorized inspirational phrase, an image in the mind's eye. Researchers have documented immediate benefits in terms of lowered blood pressure, decreased heart and respiratory rate, increased blood flow, and other measurable signs of the relaxation response.

Meditation will calm an agitated mind, creating optimal physical and mental health, undo our sense of separateness, which is the common root of fear and misery, unify consciousness, putting us in touch with our higher self and connect us to higher consciousness. Meditation restructures the mind, allowing us to achieve our full potential as human beings.

Fold your hands gently in your lap and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Then just sit. If you have never meditated before, you will probably feel as if your mind is full of thoughts. Don't try to stop the thoughts, just watch them. Imagine that you are on the bank of a river and that your thoughts are the river going by. Don't try to stop the river, just watch it. Within a week, you will see the river begin to slow down. You may become impatient, or even bored. That's okay. If you find yourself complaining, just watch the thoughts pass by. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes. You may find that you fall asleep because you are so relaxed. That's good because, in many ways, you have begun to let go. Continue at this pace and each day allow just alittle more time for yourself to meditate. Doing this allows you to relax and forget about time.

Consider the amazing power of the Deluxe Meditation Kit. Whether for meditation, quiet reflection or for creating a peaceful environment to be yours, the opportunity awaits those ready to explore the world of meditation! 
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Holistic Help for Addictions: Yoga Therapy

Yoga poses can be good alternatives to "traditional" health remedies because they relax the body and mind, improve circulation and respiration, reduce tension and help the body through it's healing process.

Stress Control:

The Yogic breath exercise can be done without instruction, without danger, and with a good chance that your discomfort and stressful feelings will be reduced. Relaxation Breath is the most powerful tool for stress management.

Sit up, with your back straight in any position. Place your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there throughout the exercise. Exhale completely through your mouth.

Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, to a count of eight. Repeat this cycle three more times for a total of four breaths. Try to do this breathing exercise at least twice a day. You can repeat the whole sequence as often as you wish, but don't do it more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. This exercise is fairly intense and has a profound effect on the nervous system.

Deep Diaphragm Breath

Sit with your legs crossed in a comfortable position. Breathe slowly and evenly from your diaphragm, through your nose. Fill your lower abdomen, lungs, then chest with air. Hold for a four count then slowly exhale the air out from your chest, lungs, then lower abdomen. Repeat 3 or 4 times. That's it! Just allow your shoulders to drop and your face relax as you breath, deep.

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Holistic Help for Addictions: Color Therapy

When you are balanced, you can more effectively fight dis-ease, rid your system of toxins, as well as, negative patterns. You can achieve balance through the vibrational remedy and application of color. Color interacts with the human energy system in a unique way to stabilize physical, emotional, mental and spiritual conditions.

Mood Relief:

Violet or Purple: are colors of transformation. They heal melancholy, hysteria, delusions and alcohol addiction and bring spiritual insights and renewal. These colors slow down an over-active heart; stimulate the spleen and the white blood cells (immunity). Bring sleep. Soothe mental and emotional stress. Decrease sexual activity. Decrease sensitivity to pain. They help in detoxification.

Indigo: helps to stimulate the pineal gland. This gland plays a large part in the patterns of addiction. Indigo is a great purifier of the bloodstream and also benefits mental problems. It is a freeing and purifying agent. Indigo combines the deep blue of devotion with a trace of stabilizing and objective red. Indigo is cool, electric, and astringent. Indigo is associated with and stimulates the Brow Chakra (third eye) and controls the pineal gland. It governs both physical and spiritual perception.

Blue: is one of the greatest antiseptics in the world. Cools down inflammations, fever, high blood pressure, stops bleedings, relieves headaches, calms strong emotions like anger, aggression or hysteria. Brings tranquility. Anti-itching. Anti-irritation, anti-stress. Soothes suffering.

Green: Green is the color of Nature and the earth. It is balance and harmony in essence and possesses a soothing influence upon both mind and body. It is neither relaxing nor astringent in its impact. Green can be used for just about any condition in need of healing. Green brings psychological and emotional harmony and balance. Green is associated with and stimulates the Heart Chakra. Green affects blood pressure and all conditions of the heart. It has both an energizing effect and a moderating or soothing effect.

Yellow allows us to take back the power we have lost.

Orange helps the body to absorb the change in behavior we are trying to change. Orange is warm, cheering, non-constricting. Orange has a freeing action upon the body and mind, relieving repressions. Orange shows new possibilities and other options in life. Stimulates creative thinking and enthusiasm, and helps assimilate new ideas. It is also helpful in dealing with excess sexual expression.

Red helps to root us in the survival mode and keeps us on track and grounded.

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Holistic Help for Addictions: Music/Sound Therapy

Vibrational medicine, which validates that everything in the universe is in a state of vibration and the frequency at which an object or person most naturally vibrates is called resonance. The chakras, bones, and organs in the body all possess a different resonant frequency. When an organ or part of the body is vibrating out of tune or nonharmoniously, it is called "dis ease" or disease. A body is in a healthy state of being when each cell, each organ creates a resonance that is in harmony with the whole being.

Music is a powerful tool that can be used in so many ways to help with addictions. It has been proven that the type of music that makes a person relax or become receptive is not any one kind. It all depends on the individual and their affinity with it.

Drumming can be a simple yet powerful way to enhance addiction recovery. New medical research shows that it can slow down brain wave cycles, enhancing theta-wave production and brain wave synchronization. This is important as addicts often have brain wave abnormalities as explained in our section on brain wave biofeedback.

Soothing Music is recommended for calming and relieving nervous tension, which can aggravate addictions.
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Managing Your Addictions

  • Avoid prolonged, excessive stress. Find a complete change of environment through travel or a retreat.
  • A natural, balanced lifestyle with plenty of sleep, rest and relaxation will help the body rebuild the organs damaged by your addictions.
  • Walk and hike in the fresh air of forests, meadows and mountains to oxygenate the blood and stimulate the liver and digestive functions.
  • Take along a sympathetic friend who understands your addictions and can give moral support to help you go through with the detoxifying program.
  • Swimming, gardening and regular deep-breathing exercises, as well as sauna and cold, morning body washes help restore health and vitality.
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Emotional Aspect:

There is an emotional aspect to every illness. Often times, it is our emotional thoughts or "excess emotions" that lead to addictions.

The following therapies are utilized for calming the mind, help with stress relief and focuses on our mental power over any situation. The ability to balance your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual self is up to you. Here are some suggestions:

Enlightenment and Dependencies Don't Mix!

  • In the East it is known as attachment. In the West it is addiction. Addiction is the elaborate system of emotion and conscious mind thinking that over time becomes cellular, leaving its imprint upon the nervous system and physical body.
  • Living in the past holds us back from becoming the person we really wanted to be. "I am living in the present. Yesterday is gone forever; tomorrow has not yet come."
  • "Today is the day that I have to work with." "I can only change the mistakes that I had made yesterday and better myself today for the future."
  • "Living one day at a time is all I have and all I really need." "I look forward to living in the here and now every new day that comes my way."
  • Purification can be slow and gradual or arduous and difficult. It can be miraculous or labored. The choice is always up to the individual.

What is your experience with addictions?  Sharing your own experiences often helps others.  We'd love to hear from you in our Spirituality Blog.
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Holistic Help for Addictions: Emotional Recovery Diary

Make an Emotional Recovery Diary

1. For two weeks, make notations whenever you have a mood swing, emotional upheaval or change in energy (such as hyperactivity or lethargy).

2. Note the date and time of the event.

3. Note what actions you take to bring yourself back to balance. Do you sit down and do yoga, stretch, meditate. Do you binge eat, have a drink or do other addictive actions revolving around food?

4. If you react with ___________, what do you do? Find comfort in?

5. Note the reaction accept it and then ALLOW yourself to move on and move past it. Write the truth in your journal.

6. The Emotional Recovery Diary is NOT a judgement tool. It is a way for you to go back to it, AFTER a week is done and look at habits and addictions that you may not even realize you are doing in response to change.

7. After committing to two weeks of journaling, take a look at the overall process. Was it somehow helpful to you? In retrospect, did you gain valuable information from it?

8. If so, consider writing in it for another week.

9. You can use this diary to write down "positive progress" as well. Did you make any changes after your first two weeks?

10. Your Emotional Recovery Diary can just be the tool you need to take you to a new plateau of understanding your emotional connection to addictions and how you can actually take control and do something about it!

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Top 10 Ways to Stop an Addiction

Everyone has a habit and some an "addiction" that they would like to break or quit for health or other reasons.  The "bad" habits can be minor such as nail biting, mild overeating, eating junk food, drinking caffeine beverages, or, they can be severe addictions like alcohol addictions, drug addictions, or smoking addictions.  This list is intended for most people as an ADJUNCT to getting "professional" or other supportive help from their doctors, substance abuse counselors or therapists, sponsors, family and friends.  Always get professional help when trying to quit alcohol addictions and/or drug addictions and it's highly recommended if you need to quit food addictions and smoking addictions, also.

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1. Make Sure Positive Reinforcement Is There For You!

Quitting a long-standing addictions are hard enough.  Not having any support or positive influences makes it doubly difficult.  If you are trying to quit smoking addictions or alcohol addictions, hanging out with friends who smoke or drink in your presence is not recommended.  TELL your friends and "all" supporters what you are trying to work on and quit, and let them know it will be easier for you to quit your addiction if you are not tempted by being around the addictions or activities you are giving up.  Let them know it is not a "personal" judgment of them.  Find new places to go, and new things to do if you must, to avoid smelling the smoke or being around the bars and the booze.  This is especially important during the first 2-3 weeks of your "self-improvement" program.

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2. Give Yourself Frequent Rewards!

Animal trainers have long known that the way to train or retrain an animal to do something is by giving them a small reward when they have done well.  This theory works well with humans as well.  If you have gone a day without smoking or sipping a beer, or eating any junk food, treat yourself to something healthy.  Buy yourself the scarf or shirt you have been looking at for months.  If overeating or junk food is not your bad habit, buy yourself an ice cream cone, frozen yogurt, or a banana split!  A new CD or book is also a small but symbolic gift which says you are doing well, and you deserve to be commended!  Buy or give yourself whatever" treat" or gift you like.

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3. Substitute The Old "Bad" Habit For A Healthy New One.

If you are giving up smoking, eating junk food, alcohol, or tobacco, there are things you can substitute for these addictions that will make quitting easier.  Sugar-free gum and candy in your mouth is a well tested substitute for smoking addictions.  It lacks the nicotine, but it does serve a purpose and seems to help many people.  Also, if junk food is your food addiction, keep popcorn (NOT the microwave type that is salted and very oily) on hand to pop in a "hot air" or microwave popper without oil.  Studies have found that humans get a lot of their craving for food satisfied by eating things that "crunch."  Obviously there are very high calorie snacks that crunch, but pick some that do not, such as carrot and celery slices (keep on hand in a large bowl of water in the refrigerator so they are all ready to eat).  If "rabbit food" does not appeal to you, try the popcorn or be creative.  People quitting alcohol addictions can keep club soda or carbonated flavored drinks on hand.  They allow you to drink something, and they are a good alternative at parties and when you must be in a bar or lounge.

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4. Quit or Change For "Yourself" First, Not For Anyone Else.

Self-motivation is vital to quitting bad habits or addictions.  Do not start trying to quit a behavior or addiction because your spouse, minister, parents, or friends want you to do it.  You *must* be at a place where you want to quit for YOURSELF, because you realize what you are doing is not healthy or is not something you want to continue to do.  Without this "self-motivation," quitting addictions will be harder, and often is neither long-term nor permanent.  It is fine to quit addictions also for the benefit of your friends and family and job and doctor, etc. AND, you must first really have a "deep down" commitment and desire to quit an addiction for YOU and for your own health, self-esteem, emotional balance, and happiness.  Use your family and friends who support your efforts to help you quit addictions and help keep you motivated beyond your own "inner strength" and desire to change.

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5. Use PROFESSIONAL Help And A Dependable Support Network!!

Especially if you are addicted to alcohol, to cigarettes, or to drugs, it is important to have a physician who is very knowledgeable about your addictive condition, and who will support you and monitor your health and your progress as time passes during your change and addiction recovery phases.  It is important to have a recent physical exam if you have been an alcohol or drug abuser, or if you are severely overweight.  This way, the doctor can offer advice on any appropriate dietary supplements, as well as exercise guidelines for your specific situation.  In addition, get the help of a support group which specializes in your addiction problem if it is overweight, or substance abuse.  They are usually free and can be of good support to you in the early stages of your new "lifestyle change."  Friends, family and clergy are also common sources of support.  A therapist or "substance abuse counselor" is also an option.  Check your Yellow Pages under "Substance Abuse," "Hospitals," "Counselors," "Therapists," "Drugs," "Rehabilitation," and even the "Red Cross."  Many of these agencies have either free or "sliding scale" support programs available, depending on your situation and the size of your city.

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6. Start A Stress Reduction Program When You Begin Your Change.

We have all heard people say they need a drink "to unwind," or a cigarette "to calm my nerves."  That is simply medical hog wash.  Most people know nicotine is a stimulant, and does nothing physiologically to "calm" the smoker down!  While alcohol IS a depressant, and the person will feel sedated or "calmer" for a while, after the alcohol is metabolized as sugar, it drops the blood sugar level, and the adrenal glands are stimulated, often making the person edgy or nervous again.  Some heavy drinkers often wake in the night a few hours after going to bed, due to hunger (the low blood sugar is making them hungry) or an inability to stay asleep (the adrenal glands have "kicked in" and they have put some adrenaline, cortisol, etc. in the bloodstream, raising the person's pulse rate and blood pressure).  And as we also know, many people say that eating food or certain foods "calms them down" or helps them "feel better" when they are sad or disturbed.  It's time to start reducing the stress and tension by healthy means.  The best (and most easily used in any environment) stress and tension control skills to learn are yoga, meditation, self-relaxation or self-hypnosis, and biofeedback.  These can all be learned by self-help books, video and audio tapes, or you can go see a trained professional and learn them.  They will be useful to you your entire life, and will help you immensely when you get the craving for a cigarette, a drink, or a quart of "Rocky Road."  The time to learn them well enough to get good use from them will vary from 1-4 weeks.  The cost can be as low as $10. for a book or audio tape, to $400-500. for a month of professional instruction.  Keep in mind the cost of a month of smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, or junk food.  DO IT.  It is well worth the investment.

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7. Don't Get On The "Guilt Train" During Your Journey To Self-Improvement.

Change, and especially the giving up of severe addictions, is an up and down journey.  You will have many good hours, days, and weeks, and you will have times when you are ready to quit and "throw in the towel."  It is RARE for a person to quit bad habits or addictions without experiencing these "ups and downs."  If you falter; sneak a "smoke," buy 3 Snickers bars at the Quick Trip and devour them in the car on the way home, etc. don't beat yourself up for it later!  Guilt is a *non-productive* feeling humans create to handle conflict.  Creating guilt will only lower your self esteem, making it harder for you to stay on course.  Many behavioral scientists also believe guilt actually makes it easier for humans to repeat "bad" behaviors, since they have in a sense "punished" themselves for what they did, and the punishment was not all that bad!  Do not accept guilt laid upon you by anyone else either.  Forgive yourself.  Remind yourself that what you are doing is hard, and that it is for your very best interest, and that changing or dumping bad habits or addictions are VERY difficult.  Be aware that it will make you *VERY* ill if even the smallest amount of ANY type of alcohol is ingested or enters your bloodstream.  This includes such substances as shaving lotion and rubbing alcohol on the skin as well!

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8. Get Yourself Into A Routine of Physical Exercise.

Depending on the habit or addiction you are working on quitting, you may already be exercising.  Chances are however, if you have a smoking addiction, alcohol addiction, or food addiction, you are not exercising much, if at all.  Drinking, smoking, and obesity of course affect the heart and lungs so much that anything very strenuous has the drinker, smoker (often heavy smoking and drinking go hand-in-hand) or obese person huffing and puffing in a short time.  First, have your doctor examine you and give you any guidelines regarding the types and the degree of exercise he feels you are ready for to be medically safe.  The exercise serves several purposes.  The main two are to get your heart and lungs reconditioned if you have been an abuser of alcohol or tobacco or overweight, and to help keep your tension level under control.  You will also find that you have a very hard time sipping a scotch, smoking a cigarette, or eating a Big Mac or anything else while you are running, on a treadmill, on a "stair stepper," in the swimming pool, riding a bike, or "Sweating To The Oldies" at a health club.  The trick is to keep your mind on the road ahead, the speedometer, the water, or the various spandex outfits around you.  Distraction and stress reduction combined will greatly help to curb any outside thoughts or addictive cravings for most people.

 help for addictions, drug addictions, food addictions, smoking addictions, alcohol addictions

9. Hit "Rock Bottom" *If You Must* To Get Motivated.

Most of the animal kingdom is smarter than humans when it comes to learning lessons or to taking care of themselves.  If a fox gets buckshot in his rump trying to sneak into a chicken coup, chances are he will never return.  If a young bear cub reaches into a bee hive for honey and gets his nose stung by the angry bees, he'll learn another way of getting the honey before he tries that again.  For some reason, God and the Universal Laws of "Lesson Learning 101" for humans is many times more difficult.  Humans often need to get "hit in the head by a brick," "run over by a truck," or almost die, before they figure out it is time to evaluate their lifestyle or addictions!  If it takes a doctor saying he sees a "suspicious spot" on your lung X-ray, or a "large mass" in your colon or on your liver for you to decide this is perhaps your final "wakeup call" to change harmful habits or addictions, pay attention!  You can start to work on your life ANY time.  Hopefully, you can do it before any serious damage has been done by your habits or addictions.  If not, do what the doctors recommend, and all of these hints will still be of great benefit to you in how you recover or feel.

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10. Pace Yourself, Depending On Your Particular Situation.

Do not gauge your progress or lack of same based on other people's experiences, what you read, see on television, etc.  You are unique, both in your body and mind.  Everyone heals and recovers from addictions and changes at different rates and in different ways.  Don't be fooled by the ads for "quick and easy" weight loss by liquid diets, pills, herbs, or machines.  It takes a combination of many things, some named above, to really successfully lose weight.  The same is true of smoking addictions.  Do not think that a magic "patch" or chewing gum is going to help you quit quickly and forever. Without the motivation, the exercise, the stress control, and the other things mentioned, you will probably be using tobacco within a few weeks or months. This is documented by scientific studies. The same is true of alcohol addictions or drug addictions and withdrawal. One needs to use a multi-disciplinary treatment program to ease off and quit and to stay away from any bad habits or addictions. Have your doctor, your therapist, your counselor or coach, and your family support you, and as long as you are making progress, even if it seems inordinately slow to you, you are on track and will do much better perhaps than those who lost 5-7 pounds a week (never suggested by experts) or who quit smoking or drinking or drugs "cold turkey." When in doubt, ask your support and professional team for guidance, and if necessary, ask for encouragement! It takes guts to quit bad habits or addictions. Allow yourself to feel good about your decision to do it. When you have done it, celebrate life and give yourself a BIG gift of some kind!

Addiction Article by Dennis Tesdell

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